Their Opinion: A big story — right here in Tifton [Bell Bio-Energy]

May 6, 2008

Their Opinion: A big story — right here in Tifton

By Jana Cone

It has been over a month now since I wrote the biggest news story of my journalism career — and I don’t think anyone in Tifton read it. It ran on Saturday, March 15, with the headline “Researcher: Discovery could end energy crisis.” It was at the top of the front page.

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It was an incredible story. Maybe too incredible. That seems to be the consensus of other news reporters around the country who have been calling me for the past month to ask why my story wasn’t a national news story. I told all of them the same thing I will tell you: I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. The Gazette is a member of the Associated Press and they were free to pick up the article and run it. They didn’t.

The story was about Tifton resident J.C. Bell who has found the solution to the world’s energy crisis through genetic modification and cloning of bacterial organisms that can convert bio-mass into hydrocarbon on a grand scale. Hydrocarbon = gas. Think about this next week when you are at the gas pump paying $3.50 a gallon. Think about the Tifton man who is capable of making as much gas as we will ever need — and he can make it cheap.

How cheap you ask? Well, I didn’t put that part in my article, but let me tell you I think he could probably make it for 25 cents a gallon — but the government would most likely never allow that. The reason he could make it that cheap is because the process is so simple and the materials are essentially free. All he requires is a big tank (think of a silo, maybe), a handful of this bacteria (well, I don’t know that the recipe calls for a handful) and some tree limbs, corns husks, or any of those other once-living things that we dispose of (called bio-mass). Mix the bacteria and the bio-mass together, stir around a little and out comes gas. That simple.

Take a deep breath and let this idea seep into your head. All the gas we want or need. For 25 cents a gallon. Forever. And you don’t have to modify any of our vehicles. And it is environmentally friendly. That would pretty well end the energy crisis and this country’s dependence on foreign oil, don’t you think?

Do you doubt that he can do it? Let me tell you, I believe he can do it. The U.S. defense department believes he can do it. On April 15, J.C. was invited by the defense department to speak at the World Wide Energy Conference held in Arlington, Virginia. He was up there talking alongside speakers from ExxonMobile and the National Science Foundation.

He must have given a good presentation, because shortly afterwards my phone starting ringing. The first to call was Joe Kovacs with WorldNet Daily. He wrote an article headlined: National news media burying amazing oil breakthrough? The last one to call was Herman Cain. He is a news columnist, businessman, politician and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He is also a substitute host on the Neal Boortz radio talk show. He called to say the story was HUGE and to ask for J.C.’s phone number. I think this thing is finally starting to pick up speed.

When I last spoke with J.C. he had not decided where to locate his facilities. The Tifton chamber crowd had started “courting” him, as well they should. J.C. could change the entire economic picture for Tifton single-handedly. I envision a day when there will be a sign at the city limits that says, “Home of J.C. Bell.” By the way, I understand J.C. is distantly related to Alexander Graham Bell, who came up with a dandy invention also.

As he walked me to my car the day of the interview, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: You will be a billionaire.

J.C.: I know it.

Me: Your whole family will be billionaires.

J.C.: I know it.

Me: There are people who won’t like this idea.

J.C.: I know it.

Me: There are people who will want to harm you.

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J.C.: I know it.

Me: Is that why I wasn’t allowed to take your photo this time?

J.C.: Yes.

Then, I asked the most important question: Will Bell Bio-Energy, Inc. be a publicly traded stock? He said it would be soon.

When I got back to the office to write the article I was nervous. It is the first time I have ever been nervous about writing an article. I told Flo, my editor, it was the most important article I had ever written. I paced, puffed — and wrote.

Then no one read it. Such is the strange life of a journalist.